2024's Skinny Belt Renaissance
Winter's easiest magician-level accessory that basically makes anything feel a Tiny bit fancier. I cooked up 11 looks...how'd I do?
As you can imagine, I have a fairly robust eBay Saved Searches list. It’s about 50 Iconic Things long, and I check it weekly to see what new-rare-weird delights have recently popped up that just might be bygone era Pauline Trigére, Romeo Gigli, or Joe Colombo, etc. One of the things on this list is vintage Charles Jourdan, and when this slim black leather belt strung with tiny silver-orbs surfaced in my feed, I definitely gasped (loudly). I bought it for around $50, having no idea at all if I would ever wear it, but I knew it was GOOD. So good, I nearly thought of sending a snapshot of it to Sophie Buhai or anyone else I knew (personally or not) who favors silver things that are both sinewy and genuinely unique.
That Jourdan belt…more about it below…(hi, Pheebs!:)
That belt hung in my closet for about a year, until I decided to wear it over a long dress, after which basically everything else in my closet kind of shifted. (Or maybe it was just how I was looking at everything that changed.) Skinny belts are not new, nor are they particularly special. But what IS special about them—now and always—is that they are easy and failsafe to use, wear, and experiment with. And they indirectly speak to my whole philosophy here of doing a lot with a little…being resourceful, finding new ways to use and love old or forgotten/surprising things.
I don’t have a ton of belts, maybe eight or nine that I really, really like and wear pretty regularly (thankfully, they don’t take up much space in a smallish closet). I like to buy my belts longer so I have more length to wrap + mess around with, and since my dad was a leather worker, I’m comfortable using a hole puncher to make a belt work for me (these are pretty simple to use, but comment below if you’d like a tiny tutorial:).
Far Left Look: skinny belt + menswear-style coat = my vibe. @Louis Vuitton.
With big-puffy-wooly-layering season in full swing, it felt like a skinny belt moment was needing its own vortex. So, over the last few weeks, I spent some time plowing through my closet and trying on all manner of odd-ball combinations. And, as I’d suspected, 9/10 times a skinny belt made many of these looks a tiny bit cooler. So, if you’re with me in buying less things lately—well, Less But BETTER—a classic skinny belt can easily make any old thing feel new and sassy again, and with not a lot of $$$. I’m sure you have one or two stashed in the back of your closet…go look, I’ll wait😬.
And if perchance you don’t, that’s cool because we’ve got some options here, mostly under $100, too…let’s get into it…xxCb
1. The belt that started this whole thing: vintage Charles Jourdan found on eBay a handful of years ago. I love it over this Kallmeyer coat, but honestly, it can make my bathrobe look hot. There’s that silver June Things earring again, too.
2. This cutie is vintage Anne Klein, bought a very long time ago at one of Brooklyn’s BEST vintage stores (that is sadly no longer) called Mafalda. That clean oblong buckle gets me every time. Looks very smart over this wool ACNE STUDIOS coat…or any coat! This one is not very skinny, but it’s freaking amazing (somebody please buy this!). This one is MARVELOUS, too.
With COS trousers and Zara Mary-Janes.
3. This is a heavy vintage wool-cashmere Benetton coat in the perfect shade of navy that I thrifted at a Salvation Army in Palm Beach. It’s the heaviest coat in the mix here and I almost never want to wear it without a belt now. Also, if you’re wondering what I do with the belt when I get to the restaurant: I just roll it up and put in my pocket…no biggie:).
4. I’m loving a tight cinch on any puffy quilted coat these days. This one is vintage, and since I hate a coat sans any closures, the skinny belt solves that problem. This vintage quilted Valentino coat isn’t so similar to mine, but I am wildly obsessed and it would likely look great on YOU.
A look from the Zara app that caught my eye…I wanted to copy it here, but I ran out of time. If you have a great gray slim sweater like this and a sequin skirt, you MUST indulge me. This Madewell belt is a classic and super versatile OR you can get yourself a secondhand version from The Gap, which is a STEAL. Tip: NEVER sleep on the belt section at the thrift store…even if most thrifting doesn’t yield as many of those legendary surprise Chanel finds anymore, you can still score vintage YSL, Ferragamo, etc. in the belt section because no one looks there…but me. And now you!
5. I found this XL Uniqlo puffer at the Goodwill a few years ago, and while I loved the extra-bright orange, the bubbly cut was a real bummer. I had my wonderful tailor Annie put giant vents on the sides so I could play with the shape more, and now I wear this $10 coat with almost anything…including a skinny belt😎.
6. A nicely tailored, perfectly weighted trench-coat with just the right BIG, sharp collar is a holy grail for me. I found this one by Massimo Dutti last year on sale (this one is similar) and it’s nearly perfect. My vintage Jeff Deegan belt with a very Elsa Peretti’ish buckle makes it Extra (good). This actual vintage Elsa Peretti belt is a DREAM, too.
7. Okay, this was a test to see if a very simple black wool shift, which is meant to be clean and uncomplicated, would look good/bad with a skinny belt…
And here it is with a vintage Robert Lee Morris wrap belt, given to me by my friend Rebecca (it belonged to her late mother, Toba, and I’m so grateful to wear it). Here’s another wrap-style belt and a super-similar vintage option, too. The printed dress underneath is vintage and too small in the hips, so I had vents put in that, too and wear it now as a tunic under/over things. I thought it looked like vintage Prada…don’t you agree?
9. I belted this vintage Sonia Rykiel blazer with a silk-satin scarf sash, just to show you can create a skinny belt idea sans actual skinny belt. Shot below where you can actually see it…
10. Another idea for wearing all those oversized striped menswear shirts I’m telling everyone to buy all the time. I actually wore this out to an appointment right after I photographed it.
11. Okay, last one here…using perhaps the simplest of skinny-skinny black belts, this one an Oldie But Goodie: vintage Barneys. I love wearing an opera style coat in lieu of a gown for fancy events, and this one by Araks doesn’t have a closure, so it works. This one by Banana Republic is another classic and on sale for $25…SCORE.
A peek at what’s coming on ATA: My priority 2024 reading list, a TINY guide to excellent/iconic Statement Chairs, the past two months of Everything I Thrifted (!!!), Cool Dramatic Sweatpants (YESSSS), and all the most gorgeous Upholstery Fabric Swatches I need your input on for Future Cottage…
A Tiny Shop is LIVE…our shopping section featuring a very tight edit of great home, fashion, beauty, and vintage things (which sell out fast). Pls do check it out! And, note, if you buy something, we might make a tiny commission, too.❣️
Getting 2024 off on the right foot 🦶—some recent ATA to spark some✨💫
🎆 Six Personal Rituals to help get you focused and ready for the New Year ahead
📝 A Big Year of Tiny Things… Thoughts on the most popular FIVE stories you loved most last year
🌶️ An ode to Vintage Pepper Mills—they’re sculptural AND very, very handy
🧼 An honest + resourceful Primer On Skincare from your 50s, which includes the GOAT of face scrubbers